Illinois Fire Marshal announces $4 million in equipment grants for local fire departments

May 1, 2024

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) disclosed that a total of $4 million has been awarded to 165 fire departments, fire protection districts, and EMS providers across Illinois through the 2024 Small Equipment Grant Program.

Each recipient has received grants of up to $26,000 to fund the acquisition of small-scale firefighting and ambulance equipment.

Overview of the Small Equipment Grant Program

The Small Equipment Grant Program aims to assist fire departments and not-for-profit ambulance services in Illinois, especially those facing financial challenges in acquiring small essential equipment.

The OSFM’s initiative has substantially grown, allocating an additional $2.5 million compared to the previous year, thus enabling over 100 additional departments to benefit from the program this year.

The OSFM had received 417 applications requesting approximately $9.5 million in funding.

Statements from the state fire marshal

Illinois State Fire Marshal James A.

Rivera highlighted the program’s impact: “We continue to see and hear about the need and understand the issues fire departments face when it comes to funding across the state.

“I am proud this year we were able to increase our grant funding to $4 million, a $2.5 million increase from last year, which has allowed us to award over 100 more departments money to purchase lifesaving tools they might not have been able to afford otherwise.”

Grant distribution and eligibility

Eligibility for the grant was extended to most fire departments and standalone, nonprofit ambulance service providers in Illinois.

Applicants were required to have participated in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for at least two years prior to applying.

The grant awards varied, with many departments receiving the full allocation of $26,000, while others received amounts tailored to their specific requests.

FSJA comment

The increase in funding and the expanded reach of the Small Equipment Grant Program illustrate the OSFM’s commitment to enhancing emergency services throughout Illinois.

By addressing the financial barriers that often hinder the procurement of critical equipment, the OSFM supports not only the immediate needs of these departments but also bolsters the overall safety and efficiency of emergency responses across the state.

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